March 20, 2018 / 1:48 AM / 6 months ago

PRECIOUS-Gold prices inch down on stronger dollar, Fed in focus

    March 20 (Reuters) - Gold prices edged down on Tuesday as
the dollar firmed, with focus shifting to the U.S. Federal
Reserve which is expected to hike interest rates and signal
three more increases this year at a two-day meeting that kicks
off later in the day.
    
    FUNDAMENTALS  
    * Spot gold        had fallen 0.1 percent to $1,315.86 per
ounce at 0108 GMT.    
    * U.S. gold futures         for April delivery dropped 0.2
percent to $1,315.80 per ounce.
    * The dollar index        against a basket of currencies was
 up 0.1 percent at 89.883. It slipped 0.5 percent on Monday.
      
    * The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the U.S. central
bank's policy-setting group, will meet on Tuesday and Wednesday.
    * The Trump administration is expected to unveil up to $60
billion in new tariffs on Chinese imports by Friday, targeting
technology, telecommunications and intellectual property, two
officials briefed on the matter said Monday.             
    * European Central Bank policymakers are shifting their
debate to the expected path of interest rates as even some of
its most dovish rate setters accept that lucrative bond buys
should end this year, sources close to the discussion said.
            
    * Global economic growth is facing the risk of
inward-looking policies and protectionism which must be avoided,
European Economics Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said on Monday
on the sidelines of a meeting of world financial leaders in
Argentina that discussed trade.             
    * EU and British negotiators have agreed draft Brexit treaty
texts dealing with a transition period and other issues and have
a broad agreement on Irish border arrangements although some
details are outstanding, a senior EU diplomat said on Monday.
            
    * Qatar has asked U.S. regulators to investigate the U.S.
subsidiary of the largest bank in the United Arab Emirates,
accusing it of "bogus" foreign exchange deals designed to harm
its economy as part of a blockade by Gulf neighbours.
            
    * Asian shares fell on Tuesday as investors dumped
high-flying U.S. technology stocks on fears of stiffer
regulation as Facebook came under fire following reports it
allowed improper access to user data.            
    * SPDR Gold Trust      , the world's largest gold-backed
exchange-traded fund, said its holdings rose 1.26 percent to
850.84 tonnes on Monday from 840.22 tonnes on Friday.
            
    * Russia raised gold holdings by 22.80 tonnes to 1,880.53
tonnes in February, 2018, according to IMF data.             

 (Reporting by Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru
Editing by Joseph Radford)
  
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